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Baseball Owners Not Interested in in tougher amphetamines penalties

Baseball Owners Not Interested in in tougher amphetamines penalties

Baseball owners appear to have little interest in pursuing stricter penalties for amphetamines use - even after Barry Bonds reportedly failed a drug test last year.

Baseball banned amphetamines for the first time starting last season. A player is not identified until after failing two amphetamines tests, which also results in a 25-game suspension. The first failed steroids test, by comparison, is a 50-game suspension.

A first amphetamines offense does require six additional drug tests over the following six months. Any change in the rules would require owners and players to reopen their new labor agreement, which runs through 2011.

``It's not worth making a big deal over it,'' White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said Wednesday at the owners' meetings. ``The fact of the matter is, amphetamines are bad and they should be banned. But whether you go public on the first testing or the second testing, it's not a major thing.''

Amphetamines, also known as ``greenies,'' have been common in baseball for decades. But they gained national attention when the New York Daily News recently reported that Bonds had failed a test for amphetamines in 2006.

The pills helped provide energy for day games following night games and at other times during the grind of a 162-game season.

``I have heard no interest in modifying the penalties,'' said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer. ``We think the penalties are very strict.

``The fact (is) that amphetamines are slightly different than steroids, both in their pharmacology and otherwise,'' he added. ``I think this is a very sensible deal the way it's set up and a fair deal the way it's set up.''

John Moores, majority owner of the San Diego Padres, said he would like to see more information on the subject.

``If they're doing it, I don't know when they're getting it or how they're taking it,'' he said. ``And I don't know if it affects their performance. I have absolutely no notion about that so I don't know if it's even a problem. I don't have enough information to know if it's dead-on right. I'd like to see some data.''

In other news, owners are considering adding a day off between Games 4 and 5 of the best-of-five division series next fall, DuPuy said. A travel day would be possible because the World Series opener has been pushed from Saturday to Tuesday.

``We want to put a jolt in the postseason,'' DuPuy said.

Meanwhile, the executive council recommended that owners approve a change in the Pittsburgh Pirates' ownership structure, with chairman of the board Robert Nutting taking over controlling ownership from Kevin McClatchy.

McClatchy, who headed the group that bought the team before the 1996 season, will remain chief executive officer and in control of the club's day-to-day operations. He will report to Nutting.

Owners are expected to approve the change before the meetings wrap up on Thursday.

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